Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 74.18
Liaison Allie Schwartz
Submission Date Nov. 30, 2012
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.1

Columbia University
OP-T2-24: Historically Underutilized Businesses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.25 / 0.25 Robert Hornsby
Assistant Vice President for Media Relations
Communications and Public Affairs
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution seek to support historically underutilized businesses, minority-owned businesses, and women owned-businesses?:

A brief description of how the institution meets the criteria:

Columbia University Purchasing supports efforts to conduct business with community-based entities through a Minority, Women, and Local (MWL) initiative. This initiative seeks to provide opportunities to local businesses for the purchase or goods and services where practical and economically feasible. This effort is furthered through primary University contracts and local requirements outlined in Requests for Proposals (RFP)’s issued by the University. Columbia University has established a MWL percentage goal for all of its construction contracts and for the workforce on all construction projects. These goals are incorporated in the bid solicitation and signed contracts of Columbia’s vendors. Contractors are required to achieve a defined percentage of participation by minority, women and local-owned contractors when performing work for the University. Columbia University has one of the highest goals of any institution in New York with established commitment goals for construction projects requiring that:
-35% of all construction contracts be awarded to MWL contractors
-40% of all workers on Columbia University construction projects be MWL with local as the
primary consideration
-30% of staff and administrative workers at the University are hired from the local community.

Local is considered Upper Manhattan and the southernmost zip codes of The Bronx including:
10025, 10026, 10027, 10029, 10030, 10031, 10032, 10033, 10034, 10035, 10037, 10039, 10040, 10451, 10454, 10455, 10474

A Community Benefits Agreement was implemented by Columbia University and the City of New York that places a preference on the hiring of local and minority contractors and workers in West Harlem by Columbia as part of the Manhattanville campus expansion.

For construction work and laborers, the University has defined local as the zip codes generally associated with the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone and the four zip codes associated with the South Bronx. For goods and services to be purchased, the University has defined local as the five boroughs of New York City. One example of the University’s focus has been the construction mentorship program described below:

Columbia University / Corporate Alliance Program Construction Mentorship Program
In 2008, Columbia University and the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) launched the MWL Construction Trades Management Certificate/Mentorship Program to help MWL businesses build capacity and earn contracting opportunities at the University. Program partners included The Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which provides technical services to MWL firms, and Columbia University's School of Continuing Education, which oversees the program's academic portion and administers certificates of completion to mentees after fulfilling their first year. Since the inception of the program in January 2008 through December 2011, 53 of the participating firms were awarded Columbia and City contracts totaling over $60 million.

After three successful years, Columbia and the City expanded the program as part of New York City's new Corporate Alliance Program (CAP). Participants in the Corporate Alliance/Columbia University MWL Construction Trades Certificate Mentorship Program will receive extensive construction management training modeled after Columbia University's Master of Science in Construction Administration program, and will also have access to opportunities with the City and Columbia as well as corporate partners BNY Mellon, Con Edison, Goldman Sachs and National Grid.

In addition to construction training, the mentees volunteer each year on a Service project in the Upper Manhattan community to give back.

Additionally, the Mayor of New York City has appointed a Columbia representative to chair the recently convened NYC Commission on MWL Construction Mentorship.

Columbia University in association with the Harlem Chamber of Commerce sponsored the Harlem Week “Economic Development Day” by providing the venue for economic discussion sessions, a trade show of local community vendors and lunch for over 200 participants.

Columbia University Supplier Diversity and Small Business Program
Columbia University established a fast track rapid results program to support historically underutilized businesses, minority-owned businesses, and women owned-businesses (MWBE) within targeted commodities available within the local community that meet University requirements including cleaning / janitorial supplies, and temporary staffing. The program consists of identifying potential local suppliers, qualifying local businesses that can meet University needs, matching local business offerings with University departmental purchasing decision makers, and developing a resource guide for local businesses who may need further capacity building and technical assistance from University partners like the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center.

Moreover, Columbia University facilitates and fosters partnerships between historically underutilized businesses, minority-owned businesses, and women owned-businesses and Columbia University’s integrated supplier partners where the University’s large preferred vendors source goods and services from historically underutilized businesses, minority-owned businesses, and women owned-businesses. The integrated partners report to Columbia University on their efforts to use MWBE businesses as part of their contractual obligations. These partnerships between MWBE businesses and University integrated supplier partners not only provide opportunities for MWBE businesses to meet Columbia University purchasing needs, but also allow MWBE businesses to develop relationships with other clients of the integrated supplier partners, and even provide MWBE businesses with more attractive pricing on their required supplies working with the integrated partners’ national suppliers.

In addition, Columbia University hosts information and matchmaking sessions for MWBE businesses and University departmental purchasing decision makers that includes vendor fairs, and targeted sessions for specific goods and services like caterers, florists and event venue providers. The hosted sessions provide information to MWBE businesses on how to do business with the University, and engage University personnel to purchase from MWBE businesses and provide status on meeting the University’s local purchasing goals.
Likewise, Columbia University participated in the Corporate Alliance Coaching Program sponsored by the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS). This pilot program was a nine month engagement where University personnel mentored a MWBE business targeting on development goals to improve the local business’ performance.

Furthermore, Columbia University established a small business concerns policy where it is the policy of Columbia University that Small, Small Disadvantaged, Historically Underutilized Business Zone, Women-Owned Small, Veteran and Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses (i.e., collectively Small Business Concerns), shall have the maximum practicable opportunity to provide goods and services to the University. This policy is promulgated in accordance with Executive Order 11246 and Public Law 95-507 of the Federal government and their implementing regulations. For federal contracts received by the University over a certain dollar threshold requires a formal subcontracting plan that includes sourcing activity with small and MWBE businesses. The University attempts to source MWBE businesses to meet the small business goals outlined in the subcontracting plans.

MWL Meet and Greets
Each month Columbia University Facilities invites up to four MWL contractors to come in and meet with construction executives. The meetings are the result of internal discussions on the trades and or/services currently needed in our Capital Projects Management, Operations, Manhattanville and Columbia University Medical Center construction portfolios. After each meeting, Columbia determines if the firm has the capacity and experience to perform the needed work and if so, include them in upcoming bid opportunities.

Local Architect Meetings
Columbia University has arranged meeting with groups of local architects to help them to understand how to do business with the university, better understand their capabilities and determine if there might be a fit for future design needs at the university. In all 17 firms participated in the meetings. To date Columbia has provided four design contracts to the architects in the group.

MWL Information Sessions
The University hosts information sessions that have been attended by over 250 minority-, women- and locally-owned (MWL) construction firms in the last year to learn about upcoming bid opportunities at Columbia University's Manhattanville Campus development, opportunities to participate in summer projects, and information on opportunities to become prequalified to work on a construction project at 3595 Broadway. These businesses had the chance to meet the construction managers and project team members working on the development and to speak with representatives from New York City business assistance organizations.

Additional URLS:

The website URL where information about the program, policy, or practice is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.